(What follows are answers to questions in a "conversation stack" I learned from Andy Anderson in a class I took January 1996. A "conversation stack" is a series of images used to create leading questions for a "get to know you" conversation.)
Name plate on a house: What is your name?
The name given to me at birth and baptism is Joel Christian Andrews. When I was very young, I was known to my parents and the other missionaries as "Joely." I out grew "Joely" sometime early in life and was then known as "Joel." In 1975, when I was a senior in high school, I discovered that I did not like "Joel C. Andrews" as an artist's signature. I played with my name and found I liked the asthetic appeal of "J. Christian Andrews." I made the decision then to adopt "J. Christian Andrews" as my signature and "Christian" as my called name when I left home after graduation from high school. There are still a number of people who knew me before my change who still call me Joel, however, most people now call me Christian. In 1996 I became involved with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department as a clergy volunteer and later as a chaplain. I learned quickly that deputies like knick-names. The logical shortening of "Christian" was "Chris," a moniker I do not like. To circumvent the shortening of my called name, I opted for "Andy." One of my uncles was known as "Andy" during his time of service to our county. I have since discovered one cannot give one's self a knickname, so I have none.
A house: Where do you live?
I live in Little Falls, MN.
A work glove on the roof of the house: What do you do for a living?
In 1986 I graduated from seminary with an M. Div. and took a call to serve a parish in eastern North Dakota. Until around 2003 I considered pastoral ministry as my call and profession. In 1999, I was hired to teach 6th grade language arts full time at a public school. It took a few years to make the mental transition, but I eventually considered myself a teacher first. I did pastor a small independent Lutheran congregation on a part time basis for about nine years before recently moving to Little Falls, MN, where my wife and I now own and operate Great River Inn Bed and Breakfast.
An airplane in the grasp of the glove: Have you done any traveling?
Most of my traveling consists of trips back and forth from Bolivia to northern Minnesota on approximately a four year schedule. Since my parents returned to the US for the last time in 1972, I have been to Mexico twice and to Canada. I spent two school years in Camrose, Alberta, Canada, attending the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute where I met my wife. The travels of my adult life consist of visits to Canada and Minnesota from California where I currently live, a cruise in the Caribbean, and vacations to Hawaii and Montana.
One propellar on the airplane is a tennis raquet: What hobbies do you have?
My current primary hobby photography. I have photo blog at My Life on the Mississippi. I also enjoy camping, hiking, bicycling, flower and vegetable gardening, and website design.
Stuck in the tennis raquet strings is a lighbulb: What are some of your main ideas?
(I have always found the conversation stack to take a "funny" twist here, as the questions shift from the concrete to the abstract.) One primary "idea" that has come to really shape the way I live has to do with my understanding of the relationship of creation and recreation. When we were created, our creation was in the image of God: we were holy, we were immortal, we had an independent will. When sin entered the world through the disobedience of the first created humans, we lost these three aspects of the image of God. We became sinfull, we became mortal, and our wills were bound to sin (notice the double use of bound: we have to, and we are tied to). God, in His infinite love and mercy, became a human being so that He could reconcile us to Himself. He revealed himself in human flesh, Jesus, so that perfect human flesh could pay the price of our disobedience and thereby restore to us the image of God and bring us back into friendship with God. When we by faith accept the death and resurrection of Jesus as the only way to friendship with God effective for us, our sin is forgiven, our debt is paid, and we become reconciled to God. The image of God is restored to a degree and will be fully restored in the passing from this life into the next.
Standing on the lightbulb is a Private First Class: What are some of your problems, fears, concerns?
PFC's seem to change and flux with the circumstances of life, and my PFC's today are much different than they were before May 6, 2006. I first made a huge adjustment to facing life as a widower and single parent. My greatest concerns were for my children, particularly my son, as they mourned the loss of their mother and adjusted to life without her. Having now ventured into the world of self employment and business, I am concerned about meeting our daily needs.
The Private First Class is holding up a football goal post: What are your goals in life?
I am finding that as with PFC's, goals also change with the changing circumstances. At this junction in life, I hope to be obedient to where ever it is God leads us through this grand adventure.
A rainbow spans the uprights of the goal post: Who is or has been the most influencial person in your life?
Without a doubt, my dad. It is from him that I have learned a deep respect for God and Scripture. He has been key in the formation of my doctrinal positions. Beyond my dad, I would probably consider Francis Schaeffer a huge influence. His books have pushed me to make some monumental decisions that have critcally shaped where I am.